The Lines That Bind

By Eve Wee-Ang 2023-07-27 15:24:09

Linking the past and the present.

I love it when people think out of the box. There's just something rebellious and bold to challenge outside the perimeters of rules. Why follow the crowd when all of us are uniquely different? This is why artists intrigue me so much. Their interpretation of life through their works feels like an intimate secret door to their inner world.

I was thrilled to be welcomed into the home of Channel Shi an artist and mother of two, whose works have been collected by Bvlgari Hotel, Indigo Hotel and British Consulate General in Shanghai. The Central Saint Martins graduate who majored in arts, culture and fashion aims to interpret her own unique perspective on the diverse living environment and globalization of the world today through her fascination with lines that connect. Through her eyes, these lines are markings found in natural stone marbles, arteries and veins in our bodies, and even mobile communication.

She is particularly intrigued by traditional Chinese landscapes that depict mountains, rivers, lakes, and seas which symbolize streams of consciousness. By weaving them into today’s world of communication from transportation networks to social media to virtual reality, Channel believes that everything in life is connected. Using mixed media and materials fabrication to express multiple contrasts, she hopes to connect time and space through this discipline.

In the same spirit of juxtaposition, the past and the present, Channel’s house in Puxi is a mixed marriage of modern contemporary furniture and historical relics. Every detail is thought through and every nuance considered. A running theme that occurs in her home décor is the preservation of old Shanghai, that of 1920-30s art nouveau period. As a native Shanghainese who left for her studies and returned years later, referencing her hometown’s design archive grounds her and connects her to her roots – another form of lines.

With this knowledge, I began noticing old Shanghai elements in her home.

There was the antique switch which I love in the washroom. There were the curved windows with its brass latch that was reminiscent of 1930s Shanghai but modernized with double pane protection to block out cold winds. There were the collages of painstakingly etched designs in the ceiling designed by Channel that when photographed from the ground up, makes for an interesting visual treat. And my favourite, a traditional tearoom that leads to the master bedroom. To me, it’s such a symbolic reverence to slow down and leave the day’s woes behind with a cup of freshly brewed Chinese tea before retiring for the night.

We head to the basement where another world awaits. Two luxurious walk-in wardrobes belong to Channel and her husband, though it’s obvious who occupies the bigger territory. Rows and rows of designer bags and shoes lined the shelves neatly. A tidying consultant was present at the shoot to help Channel organize her closets and soon, the rest of her home for qi to flow through – an important Chinese fengshui concept Channel’s husband abides by. I noticed a designer dress hung on the wall as part of the display. Curious, I asked Channel if she wears this dress or its solely for decorative purpose? Channel replied in mirth that she hasn’t wore it since she bought it three years ago as the fit doesn’t suit her but decided to display it as an ornament instead.

What about her favourite purse? Channel replied sheepishly that nowadays she only carries her phone when she’s out. Most of her bags have become home décor too. I high fived her because that’s me in Shanghai too – a mobile phone is all we need.

Channel’s mantra in life is “More is more”. She opined that more is different, and complication gives birth to new things and new ideas. This fall, Channel will be opening her second workshop and first art gallery at No. 115-116, 99 Jiangbin Road. She wants this space to support women artists from all over the world – a passion that rings close to her heart. With a mantra like that, we can look forward to Channel linking more and more women artists above the radar.


Channel’s favourite home décor brands to shop in Shanghai:

Baxter, Cipriani Homood, Cornelio Cappellini, Fendi Casa, Visionnaire Home, Trussardi Casa, Malerba, Roberto Cavalli Home and Turri.